6.28.2011

6 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT PUBLISHING

1. it's a business. i know people say this all the time? i know we throw this sentence around like it's so obvious that it's almost ridiculous to keep repeating it? but it's really, really, really true. even though we write books with all the parts of our hearts and souls, the moment we turn around and try to sell our work, everything changes. it's good, i think, to stay grounded and mindful of the fact that feelings are only one part of this industry -- and it's not a bad thing! but it helps to remember, if only to put our journey in perspective. because at the end of the day, these feelings need to sell.

2. it's a slow business. but you guys already know this, right? of course you do. hell, if you look up 'Publishing' in the dictionary it says MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST GO AHEAD AND READ THE REST OF THIS DICTIONARY BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO BE A WHILE, KID.

3. so much of this slow business is about keeping secrets. you'll learn a bit of news today about something amazing and won't be able to say anything for the next 2 months. 3 months. 6 weeks. 5 days. who knows? the point is, you learn to keep your lips zipped and pretty soon you're annoying the hell out of everyone because people want answers and all you can give them are cryptic lolcats and pictures like this:
YOU'LL HAVE YOUR ANSWERS SOON, MY PRETTY
4. there are no guarantees. about anything. even the things that you think are guaranteed are not guaranteed. so it's best to just relax and enjoy the ride. there are so many people and things and jobs and issues and surprises and secrets and processes that it is absolutely impossible for 99% of anything to be within your control. you have to make peace with yourself early on that you cannot control anything, and you shouldn't hope to, either. hope for the best, plan to be patient, and most everything will delight you. (for everything else, there's chocolate.)

5. you will eat a lot of chocolate. this much should be obvious.

6. publishing is a business (a slow business! see #2) comprised entirely of people. i know. crazy weird to imagine, right? but it's true. it's basically a huge group of super nice people with families and kids and commutes and leaky ceilings and ex-spouses they'd like to punch in the nose. really. one day you will sell your brilliant novel and you will fly to new york to meet your editor and you will be absolutely astonished by how very HUMAN your editor is. it will astound and amaze you. you will spend the length of your lunch/dinner/coffee meeting just staring at your editor in awe, eyes wide with wonder and fingers entirely too tempted to reach out and pinch the person who paid money for your book. and then, my friend, you will fly home in a daze, delighted by the idea that Publishing is just a mite less scary than it seemed when you first met its marble exterior. because tucked behind those fancy doors are little cubicles stacked high with books and the people who love them.

<3

6.26.2011

THE INTERNET KEEPS ME YOUNG

these... are some of the recent google searches that have led to my blog. i've been lolling all weekend.

HAPPY MONDAY, DEAREST FRIENDS.

6.24.2011

NOMS

i had this blog post all ready and everything, but then i was like HEY IT'S FRIDAY i think it's definitely time for a funny cute animal video.

so this is what you're getting.

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!

<3

6.21.2011

SHATTER ME ARC CONTEST 2.0

i promised you we'd have another contest, didn't i?
and i would never lie to you, would i?

SO! here we are!

i'd contemplated doing this contest a little later, because we're supposed to get the second set of Advance Reader Copies (with cover art!) relatively soonishishish, and i thought you might like to wait and get an ARC with cover art. but then i asked twitter what they thought about this idea of mine and they pretty unanimously agreed that i should just have two contests. i guess i'm easily convinced.

THO LET'S BE HONEST MY HEART IS A MARSHMALLOW FOR YOU GUYS

see? no cover art yet :(
also! just a quick side note: so many of you have been asking me about SHATTER ME cover art and when, if ever, we will get to see it. and i'm so sorry for the wait, but there are things and hoops and steps and surprises and SECRET SECRETS and basically i have no control over it. but suffice it to say that i am VERY VERY VERY excited to share it with you. and hopefully this will happen soon. soonish. soonishish. and when it does, you will know. this i can promise you, because harper has things and stuff and THINGS planned for this occasion. you will know. promises.

ahem. 

hehe.

YOU GUYS KNOW THE DRILL, RIGHT? this is simple. it's always simple.

if you want an ARC, just leave a comment saying you want one!
and random.org will choose TWO winners.

easy, right?

promotion, as always, is not necessary! but if you do tweet or blog or myface or spacebook or tumblr or grab a tube of lipstick and write it on your forehead, please let me know in the comments.

+1 for every time you link to this contest on your twitter, facebook, etc. (up to 5 extra entries!)
+2 if you link to this post on your blog.
(please leave links so i can find them)

THAT'S IT! them's the rules.


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

contest is INTERNATIONAL, and closes NEXT SUNDAY, June 26th, 2011, 11:59 P.M. PST.

MMMM HMMMMMMMMM

happiest happy day, dear friends!

<3333


p.s. here's the teaser trailer, just as a bit of a refresher. :D

6.20.2011

4 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER STOP DOING

no matter what stage you're at in this process, there are always things you should be doing.
here are four:

1. READ BLOGS

blogs are the gold mine of the internet. i learned about 100% of what i know about publishing from the internet. (danger danger: you must, of course, be wary of what you read! find blogs that are known and respected -- blogs that win awards for content and are generally agreed upon as the best publishing blogs in the industry -- i'm talking about Nathan Bransford, Janet Reid, Rachelle Gardner, Miss Snark, Pimp My Novel, Guide to Literary Agents, GalleyCat, Writer Beware, Alan Rinzler, and 101 MORE of some of the best sites on the web.) i read blogs before i had a clue, i read them while i was still figuring things out, and i read them now, every day, every single day, long after i started this process. good blogs will keep you on your toes and apprised of current events, changes in the economic climate, breaking news with regard to bookstores, authors, agents and editors. if you want to know the world you're working in, you have to keep yourself informed. all the time.

2. READ NEW RELEASES

not just books. not just any books. but the new releases in your genre. you have to know what's selling, what's working, what's doing well in the market. read everything! but don't forget to read lots of new releases, too. they'll give you a good idea of how trends are working and what readers are responding to. it's also interesting to study publicity, marketing, to see how much the industry has shifted in these new-fangled electronic days and how much social media is making a difference in how we connect with readers. things are changing, books are changing; new releases will give you a... newer perspective into what's happening on the shelves.

3. CONNECT WITH ASPIRING WRITERS

as you progress in this industry, you'll tend to meet and connect with other writers who've, more or less, achieved the same sort milestones you have. and this is good. it's always good. but i think it's also very important to never lose touch with those who are still new to the journey, still plugging along, still drafting, editing, preparing to query, or sitting tight in the query trenches, helmets strapped to their heads as shrapnel falls from the sky. don't lose sight of where you came from and how long this journey was, is, will continue to be. there are so many talented writers (agented or unagented, published or unpublished) that we can learn from and build relationships with. don't burn any bridges. don't isolate yourself from others just because you've managed to climb another rung on this ladder. we're all here to support each other and we can't afford to lose that.

4. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

no, seriously. being a writer makes it too easy to get caught up in an endless cycle of writing, reading, editing, reading, editing, reading, writing, tooting, myfacing, spacebooking and emailing. get out of your house. say hello to someone who doesn't live inside of your computer. exercise your eyes in front of natural light. go buy a carton of milk. trip on the sidewalk and blush in front of a friendly stranger or two. go to a coffee shop and hold up the line by asking for a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip. and then smile a lot. twitch a little. wonder if these pants are too tight, too loose, too long on you now, because honestly, you can't remember the last time you wore actual pants made from anything but stretchy cotton. try to make time for the fun things, for social events, for long walks on the beach. it's good to feel an actual breeze every once in a while. really. at least this is what i've heard. i wouldn't know.

i'm clearly still sitting inside of my house.

<3

6.15.2011

SHOOTING A STAR STRAIGHT THROUGH THE HEART

Anonymous asked...
I have completed my first novel and now I am on the search for an agent. I've been navigating the pages of AW and AAR so I've learned a lot but I was hoping that I could just get some, general, advice. I'm querying far and wide, but deep down inside, I am hoping that I land with Writers House. I've been interested in them for a while along with Prospect Agency. Being that I am a newbie I just wanted to know if the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a thing to shoot for or am I shooting too high? 

being a newbie does not mean you don't deserve the best. it doesn't mean that you can't aim for the highest, the brightest, the gold star. in fact, it means nothing at all. your job as an aspiring writer is to write the best manuscript you can, to do the best research you're capable of, and to compose the most compelling query letter possible. but sometimes we have to get out of our own way -- we have to step back before we sabotage ourselves.

i know a lot of you are new to this blog. many of you learned about my book and my twitter and my caffeine-addiction only within the past few months. (hello! welcome! you look mighty fetching today!) and as a result, there are many of you who aren't familiar with my entire publishing process. i won't bore you with all the details, but i do want to clarify a few things that have come up more than once: i am by no stretch of the imagination some kind of overnight success.

i know. right? it feels funny even typing that. but i've had people say this to me, and it made me almost jump out of my own skin in surprise. it's so flattering! but my oh my, not true at all.

i wrote 5 manuscripts before i wrote SHATTER ME. and they didn't work out. i had an agent before i signed with Jodi, and that didn't work out either. my work was going in a different direction and i had to make a decision about my career. i had to seriously sit and think about where i thought my career was headed vs. where i wanted it to go. it was excruciating. it was terrifying. really, truly, terrifying. i basically walked away from a sure thing with nothing but a hope and a prayer and a manuscript my gut was telling me was the strongest thing i'd ever written. and though none of this is a secret, i rarely talk about it, but that's only to respect the privacy of all parties involved. and i'm only mentioning it now because i want you to know that this journey is hard. it's grueling. and at every level we're brand new and have no clue what the hell is going on. i'm a newbie every day. every single day i'm learning new things about this industry even though i read just about everything i can get my hands on. it's endless. it's enormous. 

it can be daunting.

but you have to trust yourself. believe in yourself. believe that you are capable of greatness and don't be afraid to go after it.

i say this all the time, but it never stops being true: the trick is in never giving up. the test is in the all day every day every single day struggle. the further you go, the harder it gets. the rejections never stop. the ache and worry sometimes seems to double. but your accomplishments are paramount. they will overshadow everything else. the joy and beauty and wonder of being a part of such an incredible journey makes it all worth it.

my point is this: you can't be scared now. not now. if you're already doubting your worth in simply seeking a literary agent, you're selling yourself too short, too soon. you have to be your biggest cheerleader. you have to look in the mirror every day and know, without a doubt, that you are incredible. that you can take letters and string them together to spin tales of glory and gore and chaos and love. disaster. hope. beauty and passion. 

this is who you are. it's who we are. it's what we do. we craft characters from spindly sentences and take months, years, millions of hours to carve the perfect smile onto an imaginary face. we lose sleep and stay awake long after the world is tucked into bed just to place a beating heart into a body formed entirely by the movement of our fingers on a keyboard. we breathe life into worlds no one has ever visited. we imagine more, so much more, always more. we believe in the impossible.

you, my friend, are an inventor. a pioneer. a champion of the written word.
you deserve the best of everything.

and i hope you know that. 

<3

6.13.2011

THE 5 SIGNS THAT SAY YOU MUST BE QUERYING

1. you are a complete emotional train wreck.

your mood swings are insane. one moment you're all OH BOY OH BOY I AM SO PUMPED YOU GUYS THIS IS GOING TO BE SUPER SWELL and the next you're rereading your query letter and your manuscript and you discover 17 typos on page 22 and you're ready to start bawling your eyes out because YOU'VE READ THIS MANUSCRIPT ELEVENTY-BILLION TIMES and how is it even POSSIBLE that you didn't see these things until you SENT IT OFF and then you're sitting there, hiccuping sobs and sniffling snotbubbles when for no reason but the sheer manic state of your brain do you suddenly switch off and feel a strange hope that maybe things will work out, that maybe this agent will be The One, the one who loves you and gets you and sends you special messages on twitter and then OHHHHHH YOU'RE GOING TO VOMIT EVERYWHERE and maybe, you know what? you don't even know, you're crying again, and maybe now you've thrown a few sharp objects across the room and you're hit with SUDDEN BRILLIANCE. you have the perfect solution. you're going to be PRODUCTIVE. you're going to spend your every waking hour doing "research" to help assuage your ailing heart.

yes. that's right.

2. you develop stalker-like tendencies.

you start reading agent blogs, twitter feeds, every interview they've ever given on the internet, hoping for some kind of magical insight into the possible outcome of your situation. you're searching for a sign, a signal that they're secretly in love with you (or will soon be secretly in love with you!) and your manuscript. you're hoping for a glimpse into their thoughts, their feeeeeelings, their reactions to what they're receiving in their slushpile. do they seem happy today? do they sound excited about something? all of a sudden you're all omg omg maybe it's because they're in love with my manuscript OR WAIT. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE'S MANUSCRIPT AND THEY HATE MINE SO MUCH THEY WISH I WOULD JUST FALL OFF A CLIFF AND OMG THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING WHY DID I EVER EVEN GET OUT OF BED 5 DAYS AGO SOMEONE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST SHOOT ME IN THE FACE

3. you exhibit an almost Pavlovian response to the pinging chime of your inbox.

this is pretty self-explanatory. but suffice it to say that the moment you hear that sound, you will exhibit a multitude of emotions, including, but not limited to:

- nausea
- vomiting
- sweating
- crying
- anger
- anxiety
- shaking
- twitching
- insomnia
- loss of dignity

4. people will stop liking you.

all you care about, all you want to talk about, all you even want to think about is your inbox. if you own a smartphone, you are constantly checking your emails. at work. at home. in the middle of dinner. every 3 minutes. every 2 minutes. hell, who are you kidding, every 60 seconds. did you used to have a family? maybe you had a couple of kids? yeah? whatever happened to them? refresh refresh refresh HEY SO I READ THIS THING ON THE TWEETER ABOUT SHE SAID THAT THE THING AND THE YEAH AND YOU KNOW I REALLY THINK will be just about the only words you're capable of stringing together coherently. your ACQUAINTANCES will like you just fine -- you'll put on a smiling face for THEM, and when they ask you how you're doing, you'll cry only just a LITTLE bit -- but it's your truest friends and family who will not be able to stand the sight of you. every day it's, Oh, hey! How are you doing, Janie? and you're already pacing up and down the living room waving your arms like a crazy person, wringing your hands and WHAT IS THIS CHILD AND WHY IS IT CLINGING TO ME HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT MY QUERY LETTER YET

5. you want to give up.

you want to make the agony disappear, you want to make the pain stop, you want to back away slowly and take what little is left of your dignity and retire in Bermuda but wait, you were really hoping to cash in on that book thing because without the book thing all you can afford is a rickety adirondack chair at the ledge of your local community pool but the point is YOU'RE REALLY SICK AND TIRED OF THIS and you can't even REMEMBER the last time you had a nap, or slept through the night, and OH MY GOD HAS ANYONE BEEN FEEDING THE KIDS BECAUSE YOU CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER

it gets scary.
it gets scary as hell.

but know this: we've all had the crazies. all of us. and it's just a part of the process.

you, my friend, will be just fine.

HANG IN THERE.
never give up.

<3

6.10.2011

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD

when you’re forced to attend some kind of social event when all you really 
want is to be at home with a book.*


*this is a repost from my tumblr.

6.09.2011

A QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT

so, remember how i said june was going to be an exciting month?

well, here is the first piece of fun news:

i'm going to be on a YA panel at the San Diego Comic Con International :D :D

me, Kiersten White, Amanda Hocking, Stephanie Perkins, Andrea Cremer & Laini Taylor will be on the panel, and the super-awesome Nathan Bransford will be moderating. the official schedule, however, is not up yet, so we don't have clearance to talk about specific times. but we will be there. July 21-24 :D

SOOOOO

i am just saying maybe you should come you should definitely come

ALSO COSTUMES! apparently people wear costumes. i have no clue. i've never been to Comic Con before. so i'm kind of excited about this. maybe i'll wear a cape. maybe i'll convince jodi to wear a cape.

idk idk the possibilities are endless.

BUT I HOPE YOU CAN COME! that would be excellent.

are any of you going this year?

i am the picture of excitement:














6.08.2011

ON BEING TOO SCARED TO SHARE A WORD

Anonymous asked...
Do you ever get scared? Especially now that your ARCs are out and people can read your book, does it scare you to know that people are reading what you wrote? What's that like? I think that's the part of publishing that scares me the most -- the part where people you don't know actually read what you wrote. I don't know if I could ever handle that. How do you deal with it?

there's a shift in every stage of this journey. the shift from being an aspiring author, to even being an agented author, to then becoming an author with a book deal, and then finally crossing that threshold into the public where you stand, stark naked, waiting for people to tell you exactly what they think of your every imperfection as you huddle under the unflattering light of fluorescent bulbs. each stage is different, each unique in its own right. but that final stage? that last stage?

yeah, it can be pretty damn scary.

for so long we sit in silence behind a computer screen with nothing more than a blinking cursor and a shedding cat to keep us company. we pour our hearts out onto pages and wipe the tears from our eyes and maybe no one will ever know why we wrote what we did. maybe no one will ever truly understand what propelled us to write what we wrote in those hundreds of pages.

not everyone can know our stories, our backstories, our inspirations and aspirations. not everyone will look long enough to see the years of rejection, the pain and perseverance that went into writing and publishing a novel. reviewers will be honest, and in doing so, they might be cruel. they might try to draw parallels from our work to our waking life -- which makes sense, considering what an emotionally involved endeavor it is to write a book -- but often the conclusions they draw will be incorrect. there's nothing we can do to control that.

so we sit. and we wait. we eat our fingers and rock back and forth and wish we could dig up the floorboards and bury ourselves underneath. some days will be hard. some readers will hate the words that dared to stumble out from under our fingertips. maybe we'll be judged. maybe we'll be accused. maybe we'll be laughed at and ridiculed.

but i think that's okay.

because here's the thing about writing a book. here's the thing about writing with heart, with hurt, with emotion and raw, organic feeling: someone will find it. someone will find your words, your strength, your humor and your sensitivity and it will be an escape, a wonder, a welcome friend. for every critical review there will be a constructive one, for every constructive review there will be others that are praising. i believe that.

and it's hard. it's hard because maybe sometimes we'll want to hide. sometimes we'll wish we never cut ourselves open and threw our hearts on the table and maybe sometimes we'll want to quit. we'll be blamed for covers and copyeditors and things that are entirely outside of our control. but the trick is in remembering why we ever put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, eyes to the sky. we had words in our head that we needed to share. we had stories to tell that couldn't be confined by the limitations of our human body.

we needed to write.
and in doing so we will have reached out.

it's hard to be thrown into a world of scrutiny, a world wherein your rawest emotions are ripped out of your chest and are promptly evaluated by people who may or may not like what they see. of course it's hard. but it's part of the beauty. it's part of the struggle. because there's something so profound in realizing the utter subjectivity of this industry. this brilliance unique to the world of literature. that a book that makes one girl roll her eyes is the same that makes another sob herself to sleep.

you can never forget why you write. why you dare to dream and dream big.

it's scary sometimes, maybe a lot of the times, but you don't have to be afraid. because you and me, anon? you and me and everyone else -- we're all in this together. we're all going to face the same challenges, the same hurdles, the same stumbling blocks. but it will make us stronger. it will make us braver. maybe the negative reviews will push us to write better. maybe the positive reviews will make our days much brighter. maybe it'll all be worth it just to get an email from someone you've never met -- someone you might never meet -- who read and loved your book.

and when you feel scared, take a look around. remember that every single book you've ever seen in your entire life was written by someone just like you and me. and they were all scared, too. they worried. they wondered. they struggled with fear and self-doubt. they were criticized and ridiculed and ripped to pieces.

but without them, where would we be?

<3


6.06.2011

THINGS AND THINGS AND ETC

GOOD MONDAY, MY FRIENDS!

it's been too long, i think, since there was a decent post up on this blog, and i want to apologize for that. post-BEA was a little crazy, and then book 2 was officially due, and then i think my brain was just tired and a little bit broken. but! i am back! and it is JUNE! and june means all manner of things! seriously.

stay tuned for exciting things to happen in june.

but first!

1. this is WAY overdue, and forgive me for the delay, but the winners of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW are Melody, Heidi, and Ishta Mercurio! congratulations, ladies! if you would please email me your mailing addresses at thmafi at gmail dot com, i will gladly send those wonderful books posthaste.

2. i'm sure you guys have heard all about the Wall Street Journal article about YA, yes? of course you have. and from this article has grown many things, including an entire deciduous forest of feelings and emotions and important reactions. all of it has been said. all has been said well, and from every angle. but all i really want to say is that i'm so proud of the YA community. so wowed and humbled. and i think the most awe-inspiring thing to come of this entire event was the #YAsaves hashtag. i would highly recommend taking a look through these tweets if you haven't already -- they really touched my heart.

3. i have to go in for jury duty this month. *stares at things* *pokes internet* *sighs a little*

4. someone, 2 weeks ago, re: one of my failed blogging attempts on my iPad, said that i'd saved them a lot of money by pointing out that i couldn't, well, blog on my iPad. and i wanted to address this, very quickly, just to say this: the iPad is incredible. i don't regret buying it or using it or traveling with it, ever ever. it is not the replacement for a laptop though, and this is something that i think might confuse people. the iPad is, in my opinion, an insanely tricked out e-reader. and for this it is nothing short of perfect. so if you need a laptop? if you don't own a laptop? an iPad is not a substitute. not even close. but if you need an easy travel companion with access to internet, emails, important applications and thousands of books at your fingertips? it is your best friend. (also i still have no idea if there's a proper way to blog on my iPad. it could be that i'm just doing it wrong.)

5. EMAILS! i have so many of these that i still haven't answered. forgive me. i promise i will be with you shortly. and for all of you who might be book bloggers, etc, and are interested in receiving an ARC of SHATTER ME for review, you can skip straight through me and go directly to my publicist. she has all the information. if you're interested, her name is Allison Verost, and you can find her at Allison.Verost at harpercollins dot com. 

SPEAKING OF WHICH

6. i'm thinking it's time for another SHATTER ME ARC contest. what do you think?

happy hearts, everyone!
i hope you've all been doing well :D



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